Minister Nadir clears the air on child labour
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Work hours are set after 17:00hours for not more than three to four hours.
Only light work being done.
No work will be conducted with hazardous chemicals.
No work will be allowed or condoned from 8:00 to 15:00 hours.

Reasonable pay.
Suitable conditions for work on an abuse of the labour laws?
In an invited comment, Labour Minister Manzoor Nadir sought to clarify the difference between labour, more specifically child labour and child work –to which the conditions stated above can be applied.
“People have been using child work and child labour almost synonymously,” he said, as he made clear that they are completely different things.
As opposed to child work, the Labour Minister pointed out that child labour deals with four other things: child slavery; child soldiers; situations where family members having a child work with their business or farm and refuse the child access to basic rights, such as education; and the legal age of entry into the workforce.
Explaining the difference between child labour and child work, Minister Nadir pointed out that persons who are found to be preventing children from gaining an education during school hours will also be prosecuted, since there is need for every child to developed fully and to have an opportunity to learn and enjoy a reasonable amount of leisure time.
Nadir’s recent comments to the media came after speculations were raised at his call for a revision of the legislation governing children of a certain age being allowed to work for a specified period during the day.
In Guyana, the legal age when children can enter the workforce is 15, and Nadir pointed out that in 1994 the government moved legislation to move the age from 14 to its current position.
However, at present, Nadir is suggesting that the age for entry into the workforce be lowered to 13.
He said, “We have to equate the age of entry to the workforce to the age of school leaving. Many persons have not heard the conditions that accompany the lowered age. In the minds of a good percentage of the people, they think that I am lowering the age for people to drop out of school.”
In affirming that this is not so, Nadir noted that if one were to research labour conditions in other countries, one would recognize that provisions exist to cater to persons as young as 12 to work under “certain conditions.”
The Minister of Labour stressed that child work is done within certain conditions.
‘It is no different in the United States of America. It is no different in Australia. It is no different in Switzerland. Children between the ages of 12 and 13, up 15, can enter the workforce,” he said.
Also, Nadir pointedly said in Guyana there is not a serious problem with child labour.
He said, “We have an enormous potential for child labour because of the truancy we have.”
In light of this, the Labour Minister observed that all decisions made with regard to child work needs to be made using the appropriate evidence base.
“We have to make decisions on evidence, empirical data. We must not say that if we lower the age for entry into the workforce under certain conditions that immediately we will harm or hurt children,” he said.
Affirming that evidence must speak to the issue, Minister Nadir maintained that lowering the age of entry into the workforce can have positives.
The ILO, in defining child labour, said, “Not all work done by children should be classified as child labour that is to be targeted for elimination.”
The group noted that considerable differences exist between the many kinds of work children do.
Some are difficult and demanding, others are more hazardous and even morally reprehensible. Children carry out a very wide range of tasks and activities when they work.
However, the bottom line, according to the ILO, is that the participation of children or adolescents in work that does not affect their health and personal development, or interfere with their schooling, is considered a positive contributing factor to development. Such participation is also said to advance the welfare of families.
The global organization’s position is that activities such as helping their parents around the home, assisting in a family business or earning pocket money outside school hours and during school holidays contribute to development .
“These kinds of activities contribute to children’s development and to the welfare of their families; they provide them with skills and experience, and help to prepare them to be productive members of society during their adult life,” the ILO says.
The term ‘child labour’, from the ILO’s point of view, can be defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development.
Child work and child labour have different connotations; and while the answers varies from country to country, decisions should be made based on good, sound and empirical data –as should be the case in any decision-making processes.

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